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Jan 8, 2013 06:36 AM

Urgent strata question

I'm making a strata for a brunch today.

Just took it out of the fridge.

Will be going into the oven in a half hour.

As I look at it, not all the egg/milk mixture is absorbed into the bread. The mixture is kind of sitting in an egg/milk mixture. Is that normal?

Should I decant some of that off?

The reason I'm concerned is that when I looked at other recipes yesterday I saw that some had a much higher egg to milk ratio. (Like 8 or 9 eggs to 2 cups milk. Mine has 4 eggs to 2.5 cups milk. I tripled the recipe so I have 12 eggs to 7.5 cups milk. But it didn't all fit in the pan.

One reason I'm a little worried is that I have to leave for an event and my SO will be taking this out of the oven.

Can I stop worrying or should I drain some off.

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  1. press something on it to weigh down the bread- like a roasting pan - before you bake.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Berheenia

      Ok. I pressed down to be sure everything was soaked. Decanted a small bit of liquid off that was easy to do.

      We'll see what happens! Out the door.

    2. FWIW, I use 3/4ths cup of milk per two eggs. Let mine sit in the refrigerator overnight and it usually has a tiny amount of liquid left.

      Also, FWIW, my strata is awesome, make it at least twice a month for our Sunday breakfast. : )

      1. Well, here's my report. The dish looked and smelled fantastic. But it was a little soupy especially in the middle. I think it needed less milk or more time in the oven.

        My SO didn't check that a knife came out clean, I think.

        A number of people told me it tasted great. And I think they weren't just being polite. The flavor was great. What happens with really good ingredients, I guess.

        But next time: less milk.

        6 Replies
        1. re: karykat

          My standard strata takes about 10 eggs and 1 cup of milk. I typically start with 8 eggs and 1 cup of milk, and then, if it appears to require more moisture, add 1 or 2 beaten eggs at a time until all of the bread is moistened, with just a scant amount of visible liquid not absorbed.

          1. re: masha

            Thanks masha. This is much less milk than I was using. Way less.

            But how do you add your additional eggs later. Let's say you have your whole strata assembled and you have added your initial amount.

            How do you add the additional eggs?

            As I think about this, you must be adding it initially, if it looks like everything isn't moistened. Right?

            But how do you get the additional eggs kind of distributed throughout, if that makes sense?

            Know your method has been working for you and want to be sure I understand it.


            1. re: karykat

              The egg/milk mixture (initially 8 eggs/ 1 cup milk) is the last ingredient that I add to the strata, after everything is assembled in a Pyrex baking dish. I beat that mixture in a 1 qut mixing cup with a spout, and pour it out slowly to moisten the entire surface of the strata. Because the baking dish is Pyrex, I can easily look along the bottom sides to see how high the liquid is, as well as looking at the surface of the strata. If I decide it needs more moisture, then I beat the 1-2 eggs in the same mixing cup, and similarly pour it on the surface of the strata, directing the liquid to areas that are dry. (Then reexamine the surface and the bottom to see if it appears moist enough, and repeat yet again with 1 or 2 more eggs, if not.)

              NB, that this amount of liquid is for a strata that I typically make in a 11x15 pan.

          2. re: karykat

            My standard for 1 lb loaf of french bread cubed in a disposable 11 X14 aluminum pan is 8 eggs, 2 cups whole milk and 1/4 to 1/2 cup half and half and I have made these successfully for various groups. Maybe the type and cut of bread is a factor.

            1. re: Berheenia

              I think you are right that the type of bread will certainly affect how much moisture will be absorbed. I typically use cheap, white sandwich bread, so not nearly as dry as French bread, and therefore requiring less moisture. But, regardless of the total amount of liquid needed, the technique that I propose -- of starting with a baseline amount of liquid and then gradually adding additional eggs to saturate but not over-saturate the bread -- works well.

            2. re: karykat

              Oh it's so nice to hear that your dish turned out well karykat. I'm delighted for you and sincerely appreciate your reporting back. I think you're quite right, less milk next time. That's what cooking's all about though, try, improve, try again, improve...and so it goes! Looking forward to hearing about your next dish!!

            3. I can see I've been way off course with the amount of liquid I used compared to eggs. Way too much milk.

              I've made a smaller version of my strata a number of times.

              Maybe scaling it up affected the dynamic somehow.

              Anyway, next time -- much less milk.

              And following all this other good advice.